ABSOLUTION, ABSOLUTIO, in the Civil Law, &c. a definitive Sentence, whereby a Person accused of any Crime, &c. is acquitted, and declared Innocent.

Among the Romans, the ordinary Method of pronouncing Judgment was this : After the Cause had been pleaded on both sides, the Pretor used the Word Dixerunt, q. d. they have said what they had to say. Then, three Ballots were distributed to each Judge ; one mark'd with the Letter A. for Absolution ; another with C. for Condemnation ; and a third with N. L. non liquet, it is not clear, to require respite of Judgment : and according as the Majority fell of this or that Mark, the Accused was absolved or condemn'd, &c. Is be were absolved, the Pretor dismiss'd him with Videtur noti fecisse, or nihil in eo damnationis dignum invenio.

When the Votes are equally divided on the Sides of Absolution and Condemnation, the Accused is absolved : This Procedure is supposed to be founded on the Law of Nature. Such is the Sentiment of Faber on the 125th Law. de Div. Reg. Jur. of Cicero, pro Cluentio ; of Quntilian, Declam. 254 ; of Stralo, Lib. IX.

Absolution, in the Canon Law, is a Juridical Act, whereby a Priest, as a Judge, and in virtue of a Power given him by Jesus Christ, remits the Sins of such as appear to have the Conditions requisite thereto.

The Romanists hold Absolution a Part of the Sacrament of Penance : The Council of Trent, Sess. XIV. cap. iii. and that of Florence, in the Decree ad Arminos, declare the Form or Essence of the Sacrament to lie in the Words of Absolution, I absolve thee of thy Sins.

This Formula of Absolution in the Romish Church is Absolute ; in the Greek Church, Deprecatory ; and in the Churches of the Reformed, Declarative. Arcuvius, indeed, contends that the Greek Formula is absolute ; and that it consists in these Words, Mea mediocritas habet te venia donatum. But the Instances he produces are either no Formula's of Absolution, or only of Absolution from Excommunication.

Absolution is chiefly used in the Reformed Churches for a Sentence whereby a Person who stands excommunicated, is releas'd or freed from the same. See EXCOMMUNICATION.

In the Church of Scotland, is the Excommunicated shew real Signs of godly Sorrow, and is upon Application to the Presbytery a Warrant be granted for his Absolution, he is brought before the Congregation to consess his Sin, and express his Sorrow, as often as the Presbytery shall think meet : When the Congregation is satisfy'd of his Penitence, the Minister puts up a Prayer, desiring Jesus Christ who has instituted the Ordinance of Excommunication, (i. e. of binding and loosing the Sins of Men on Earth) with a Promise of satisying the righteous Sentence above, to accept of this Man, to forgive his Disobedience, &c. Thisdone, he pronounces the Sentence of Absolution ; by which his former Sentence is taken off, and the Sinner is again receiv'd into Communion.

In the Church of Rome there are divers other Political Absolutions ; as Absolutio à sævis, which is necessary where a Person has been concern'd in seeing Sentence of Death executed on a Criminal, or has any other way disqualisy'd himself for the holding of a Benefice.

Absolutio ad Cautelam, is that granted to a Person who has lodg'd an Appeal against a Sentence of Excommunication. It being a Maxim in the Papal Jurisprudence, that the Sentence stands good notwithstanding any Appeal ; this sort of Absolution is sometimes granted till the Issue of his Appeal be known : by means hereof, some Articles, at least, of his Excommunication are taken off ; insomuch that Persons may converse with him without danger : And beside, in Case of Death, this Sentence is supposed to stand him in some stead.